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Gulf Coast Evacuees Sheltered in Twin Cities

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While on the outside, the Lincoln Center looked all too normal with basketball games on-going, inside, it was a whole different ballgame through Tuesday evening. The Red Cross and numerous local agencies set up the Lincoln Center as a shelter for those fleeing Katrina.

"Especially since the need is going to be long term, we needed to be able to provide the kind of assistance that people need," said local Red Cross manager Sharon Zambrzycki, "so we decided we needed to open up a shelter, and that became two shelters."

Central Baptist Church was also opened for evacuees, but residents of the Bayou state like James Taylor found the Lincoln Center first.

"If you were from Louisiana and in the midst of the disaster that they are having, and if you can get relief from anywhere or from anybody, that's a blessing itself," Taylor said.

The local Salvation Army provided part of that blessing, with food prepared throughout the day.

"We will be feeding dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning for sure, and for as long as it's needed after that," said Beth Sturdivant with the local Salvation Army.

And the help making the food and taking it to the shelters came from volunteer people and volunteer companies. "We didn't realize how many people from Louisiana came to the Brazos Valley, and we felt that it was the right thing to do for our community," said Larry Beavers with WalMart, who donated food for those in need.

It was a welcome sight for Gulf Coast residents like Marilyn Nolasco. "A friend of ours had booked some rooms for us," she said. "These were the first ones available, and we got lost getting here, but we're here, and the people here have been very nice, very friendly.

"They're telling us we can't go home until Monday for sure," Nolasco continued, "maybe just to get a few things that are left, and then we're going to have to leave again, so we don't know what we're going to do."

But while they figure things out, those temporarily calling our area home have found a silver lining in their cloudy landscape.

"I have my life," Nolasco said. "I have my life. Most people there don't. A lot of people are gone now."